Smoke-Free or Smoke Freely: It's Still Your Choice in Cleveland
Neither Cleveland nor any of the suburbs in Cuyahoga County has banned smoking in bars and restaurants yet, but that hasn't stopped several establishments from going smoke-free. Last month, George Nemeth of Brewed Fresh Daily reported that Cleveland's prestigious Velvet Tango Room is now smoke-free (even though its website still features a picture of a cigar in an ashtray). At around the same time, the Steak-n-Shake in West Park announced that it would no longer allow smoking. These are just two more examples to show that, if given a chance, the free market will provide both smokers and non-smokers with drinking and dining options that suit their preferences.
The free market might not get that chance, though. A gang of busybodies calling themselves "Smoke Free Ohio" recently submitted petitions to put the issue of a smoking ban before the Ohio General Assembly. In a rare moment of sanity, the General Assembly appears unlikely to enact Smoke Free Ohio's proposal, the Ohio University Post Online reports, so the issue probably will go to the voters in November.
Meanwhile, the Ohio Licensed Beverage Association is gathering signatures for a saner smoking ban proposal, which, according to The Cincinnati Enquirer, would:
...require lawmakers to ban smoking in public places but exempt certain establishments such as bars, bingo halls, racetracks, bowling alleys and closed-off smoking areas in restaurants, hotels and nursing homes. If the language is certified, the group must collect nearly 323,000 signatures to get it on the ballot.
Ideally, the State of Ohio would not concern itself at all with smoking in privately owned buildings, but the OLBA's proposal looks to be the best way to stop the total ban that Smoke Free Ohio is pushing.